A follow on from my blog post about my wonderful Friday sampling the most amazing food, drink and hospitality. Saturday in Galway was just as special with a visit to Spiddal, a tour of Galway Market and so much more.
We had a great nights sleep in the Hotel Meyrick and were up bright and early for part two of our magical mystery tour. The hotel started serving breakfast at 7am and there was so much choice! There’s an extensive buffet including sausages, bacon, eggs, hash browns, black and white pudding. If full Irish isn’t your thing there are scones, cereals, pastries, salmon, cheese and fresh fruit. There is also a menu of dishes that are cooked to order including kippers, porridge or scrambled eggs. We didn’t eat too much as we knew we had a day of eating ahead of us – it’s a hard life 😉
We met our fellow bloggers and writers in The House Hotel, another wonderful looking hotel and they serve Afternoon Tea which I’m sure I’m going to have to check out at some stage.
You can’t begin your day without coffee so our first stop was Coffeewerk & Press. This is just a lovely shop, bright and colourful and serving great coffee. Upstairs is a hidden gem of all kinds of quirky gift ideas. There’s also a gorgeous window seat with cosy cushions overlooking Quay Street and there’s a record player! Well worth a visit if you are in Galway.
It was time to board our bus and head for Spiddal. As we drove through Salthill I was amazed how busy it was, walkers, runners, families, dog walkers, coffee drinkers, ice cream eaters and this was at 9.30 am! There were even people jumping into the sea – and it was cold and raining!
I was very excited when our bus turned into the lovely, colourful Ceardlann Craft Village in Spiddal. I spotted a potato painted on one of the buildings and had to go off exploring. I loved everything about this place, the bright buildings and seats, the way you can see different types of crafts being made, the colourful murals and the way it’s all over-looking the sea. Spiddal is in the heart of Galway’s Gaeltacht so if you want to try a cúpla focal this is the place to do it.
We were invited in to Builin Blasta Cafe & Bakery which is owned by chef Heather Flaherty. Heather is absolutely passionate about her products and her ingredients. She believes in wholesome, healthy cooking. I was delighted to hear about the vegan/vegetarian options – including a vegan fudge and of course was thrilled to see so many gorgeous looking cakes. I could easily have stayed there all day and would love to go back again for lunch. Heather was so generous with her time and showed us how to make baguettes and cinnamon rolls. I even had a try at rolling a baguette – I failed – it looked like a worm with a digestion problem. Best part of all was that we got to try cinnamon rolls straight out of the oven and oh my goodness they were delicious!!!! Heather told us she will put the recipe up on her website so I’ll look forward to trying to make them at home. Thank you so much to Heather for such a lovely morning and for the delicious baguette we got to take home.
We had a quick visit to Máíre Ní Thaidhg who is a weaver based in the craft village. Maire weaves individually designed items including scarves, throws, wraps and rugs. I loved the vibrant colours and they are really well priced too. You can find out more about Maire here.
Back on the bus and back into Galway where Sheena of Galway Food Tours gave us a whirlwind trip around the market. I really love this market and have been there many times, there are so many unique crafts for sale and fantastic food. What Sheena did was not only introduce us to some of the wonderful food she also gave us a glimpse into the faces of the market. There are so many interesting characters and I have a photography plan coming to mind that may happen if I pluck up enough courage….watch this space.
We tried some gorgeous vegan curry from The Bean Tree. We sampled sushi from one of the market regulars. We met ‘Danny Doughnut’ who makes the most amazing doughnuts I’ve ever tasted, these were warm, light and fluffy and just melted in the mouth – ooh sugary heaven! I even managed to face a fear and try and oyster, encouraged by Michael – the oyster man, and do you know something it wasn’t so bad, like drinking a wave perhaps but not too bad at all. We saw fish that had been caught locally that morning and we met a local farmer who sells his products at the market.
After our stroll around the market Sheena took us in to Tigh Neachtain’s, one of the oldest pubs in Galway. This place is amazing, little snugs everywhere, unique art, posters from the annual Art Festivals and even a library! That’s without mentioning all the unusual drinks. We got to try the famous Galway Hooker Irish Pale Ale, this is made by an independent artisan brewery based in the West of Ireland, it was really lovely. We also tried Cosmic Cow which is a stout made with almond milk, really unusual but delicious and I’m not usually a stout fan. Cosmic Cow is made by Soulwater, a creative beer project, they don’t have a physical brewery so they use other brewers, this means they can be more creative about what they produce. Sheena told us all about the beers and the history of the pub.
A Galway Food Tour is a must do if you are visiting Galway, not only will you get to try some of the delicious food you will also hear the stories behind the people. Thanks to Sheena for her time and the lovely lip balm we were given.
The last visit of our wonderful weekend in Galway was Tomodachi Sushi Bar. If you love Sushi you have to try this place, the food was amazing and so was the service and presentation. All just perfect. If you aren’t sure what to order you can choose something from the sushi conveyor belt, it’s very reasonably priced too. I ate so much of it but it was worth it.
So that was our trip to Galway, easily one of the best weekends away I’ve been on. It was so well planned and well organised and everyone was so friendly and helpful and well the food just speaks for itself. Sincere thanks again to the Galway Food Festival for inviting us to preview just some of the places involved in the food festival. I’m so looking forward to coming back for the festival and I’ll write a blog soon about some of the highlights. You can find out more about the festival here.
*Disclaimer – we were invited to Galway to preview the Galway Food Festival, we were given a night in the Hotel Meyrick and everything was complementary. No money changed hands.